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Saturday in Swansea

Previous results against Swansea have been interesting games, with the results of the last three games being a win, a draw and a loss. This was a must-win game for us as we need to ensure we are still firmly in the race for fourth spot. With Everton beating a lackluster Manchester City 2-0 earlier on in the day, the result was even more crucial as Everton moved above us. I will not lie, I expected a Swansea city goal. I expected it so much so, that our game was in my Goals Galore accumulator. To be clear, I expected a win, but I expected a 3-1 win to us. What happened, was even greater, for the second game in a week, we scored two goals and kept a clean sheet. Remarkable. Our defence has been a major talking point amongst ourselves and in the general media throughout this season, leaking too many goals and who are the right CB pairing being the main points. Arsene decided to keep Lukas Fabianski in goal and Laurent Koscielny at CB with Per Mertesacker partnering him. This is welcome with me, I love Koscielny, as I’ve noted before. The thing I am most happy with from a defensive point of view in the last two games are that the defence is TALKING again. We are moving forward in a line, dropping back in a line and all the while communicating together

In midfield, Abou Diaby is such a monumental cog in our midfield engine in my eyes and to see him playing again is excellent. I understand some of his criticism as when watching him he can seem problematic. However, he won 3/3 tackles, made 3 interceptions made 1/1 clearances, won 1/1 headers, had a pass success rate of 89% and took the ball past his man 4/5 times he tried to do so. The only negative I had of his game yesterday was that his final pass wasn’t quite there and this is reflected in his 89% pass completion, which still is quite high. His movement is Viera-esque and if we can keep him fit, I believe we have a great midfielder – the only problem being his fitness. Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain, who I have previously said could benefit from a possible loan at one of the mid-table teams had a stormer. I’m not AOC’s biggest fan as I think he blows hot and cold, but yesterday he was scolding. Smashing the bar twice in the first half, he had a good game, linking well on the wing when he drifted and used his speed and first touch well in the middle of the pitch when he was stationed there. Santi Cazorla had a solid game too, with some nice touches and passes between himself and the rest of the squad. His speed and technique were on show for all to see again and had a good chance with a half-volley in the first half, before squaring the ball to AOC for his shot to skim the top of the bar just before half time.

Olivier Giroud had an afternoon of mixed sorts, not really creating much for himself, but dragging defenders away with his movement and chasing back to ensure his team regained possession when the ball wasn’t with us. Theo Walcott on the other hand had an awful afternoon, with only one run that springs to mind. When he was eventually substituted, he looked perplexed which I couldn’t understand. If you do nothing in the game, expect to be taken off. When Theo is on his game, he is virtually unplayable and he is more than capable of doing the unexpected; but yesterday was not his day. Even Gerviniho came on and scored, which is great for us as it sealed the victory, but could also be great for him as his confidence will receive a well needed boost.

Aside from the victory, the debate on our back five still seems to be there, with some calling for Sagna & Gibbs inclusion and some calling for Szczesny back in goal. For now, I say keep Fabianski, Keep Jenkinson and keep Monreal in the team. Vermaelen doesn’t merit his inclusion right now as he hasn’t had the best of seasons with us to say the least. Jenkinson is improving more and more with each game, so why not let him have a run in the team? It can only be more experience for him and this is what he needs. Monreal should also keep his place in my eyes as Gibbs is just returning from injury and there is no need to rush him back when we have a more than adequate back up for him. Szczesny should also be rested as this may focus him on his goalkeeping abilities and talents, rather than his Cryuff turns on the edge of his box, while also showing him that he isn’t as good as he thinks he is … YET.

The last eight games of the season will show us how tough our character is. If we can achieve another season in the Champions League after some of the worst displays I’ve seen us string together, then I will take some comfort in the fact that we can still qualify, even when we play horrendous football. It will also prove to me even further that there is no other manager apart from Arsene Wenger who should be at the helm of this great football club.

But that’s another discussion, for another time.

Victoria Concordia Crescit.

As always, comments, discussion or feedback at @RyArsenal

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Last Saturday, the red half of Manchester cheered and screamed as Nikica Jelavic’s deflected strike looped over Joe Hart and entered the Manchester City net to seal a 2-0 win for Everton. Personally, it was a very intriguing moment.

I felt happy, relieved and yet worried at the same time. I cannot tell why but what I was sure of was that, the Red Devils were going to have a clearer understanding of the rest of the Premier League season.

My joy was founded on the fact that the same team that hit us so hard and crippled our march to the title was the same team stabbing Manchester City in the chest and giving us a wonderful opportunity to win the magical title number 20. I must admit that I leapt and screamed “Yes!!!” when the second goal was scored.

I am sure the players did similar things but I believe there is still some work to do before we can truly say that the title is coming back. The fixture list is full of reminders of how treacherous the EPL can be and only a hundred percent effort in all the games can give the team the title that was lost due to an eight-goal difference.

Trips to Sunderland, Arsenal, and West Ham will never be easy and we have the benefit of history to guide and provide us with pointers as to how they could go. The London visits to Arsenal and West Ham will be difficult because of how intense past games have been.

In the 2010/2011 season, an Aaron Ramsey goal beat us and made the home tie to Chelsea more challenging but we won 2-1 and last season, the Gunners pushed us all the way but we prevailed 2-1.

The Hammers have given us more than a fixture once this season in the FA Cup and going there again for a league game will only be another tough encounter. Late winners and equalisers have been scored there and we must be prepared to do same if need be.

Home games against Chelsea and Man City will be the most important moments of this last two or so months of the season but all out commitment will see us through. The Man City game will be a very perfect moment to close the deal, complete a double over the Citizens and get some cold revenge for last season’s tears.

Stoke (away) and Swansea (home) will also be challenging for the team and there must be no masking of this truth.
This is the time when performances must be at their peaks, attitudes must be right and the atmosphere and aura round the team should be very positive. Every game is a title decider and every opponent must be seen as dangerous. Maybe we will get a slice of luck with Man City slipping further behind but that is an assumption and in title races, assumptions are not part of the main mix.

Fortunate breaks just pass by every now and then but we must be ready to climb on those moments and inch closer to the title.

We have come this far and we cannot let it slip.

Let’s bring the title home!!!

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Breaking Bayern


With the absence of Jack Wilshere, Thomas Vermaelen and Wojciech Szczesny, even more people began writing us off before a ball had been kicked. The fact is we beat Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena to end their twenty four game unbeaten run but went out on away goals. Despite this, Geoff Shreeves decides to ask Carl Jenkinson how he feels that it is now eight years without a trophy – to which Jenkinson swiftly shut him down and enforced the positives we can take from the game, spoke of how proud he is of the boys and the performance.

Before kick off, Arsene got slagged off left right and center about his team selection with Gary Lineker also chipping in on Twitter with his two cents worth. I haven’t heard an apology, or even a ‘Wenger got it right’ from him, but let’s be very clear on the matter, Wenger got it right. Some may suggest that Bayern were the better team or even that they didn’t think they would be going out so took their foot off the gas a little, but for periods of the game they dominated although the early goal looked to shake them a little and in the dying embers of the game, Arsenal were in total control. We took our chances well, with only two shots on target resulting in two goals. Possession wise, the game had a 54-46% split in favour of Munich. One thing frustrates me however. The fact we can beat the best clubs in Europe when we want to, but no turn up to games against Blackburn irks me. It must also kill Arsene Wenger, who must see it every day in training and then wonder what happens when they get onto the pitch some weeks. He knows we can play, he knows we can be world beaters and he knows we DO have the players to do so.

I don’t see the fuss surrounding resting Wojciech. He hasn’t been performing well recently and his confidence looks shot to pieces. Lukas Fabianski came in and done a great job in goal, looking tidy when he needed to be and making a brilliant save against Robben one on one. I think that some praise for his performance must also be placed on the solid back four he had in front of him. It is my opinion that Laurent Koscielny is the best center half we have at the club. I love the boy, his pace, composure on the ball and ability to score goals from corners are second to none of our defenders. He makes a few mistakes, granted but his recovery is excellent. I’d start the same team against Swansea at the weekend with no exceptions. Every single player who played against Bayern Munich has earned his place in the squad after last nights performance. I know Swansea are a good side who play attractive football but I cannot see anything other than an Arsenal win. If we keep Dyer quiet, which we should be able to as 90% of his game is his pace (which our fullbacks can deal with) and stop Michu from improving his goal scoring record against us, we should be fine.

Hopefully we take this momentum into the final ten games of the season and reduce the gap between us and Spurs. It is vital as we all know to make the Champions League. If we show the determination and competitive nature we showed against Bayern then we can do it. With Swansea, Manchester City, Chelsea and Everton still to play, Spurs have a tough run in. Oh when the wheels come falling off …

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North London Is Still Red

The unthinkable has happened. We lost to Spurs. Twitter entered meltdown mode. Wenger must leave, All of our players are abysmal and we need this unknown Middle Eastern Consortium to buy our beloved club for £1.5bn and take us into the ranks of Manchester City and Chelsea.

First things first, let’s tackle this takeover bid. £1.5bn is astronomical. Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in terms of revenue, success and recognizable-ness in the world only cost £800m. But the money is not my problem with the takeover, the problem I have is that I don’t want to win trophies the same way Manchester City or Chelsea did. I want to win them, the Arsenal way (or the Borrusia Dortmund way, in their recent successful times) with players we have nurtured, finances we have secured and a board who care about the club. Unfortunately, I don’t think Stan Kronke cares about our club the way he wants us to believe he does, or has the good of the club at his heart. The Middle Eastern Consortium promise to slash ticket prices, recreate the Noisy North Bank of Highbury inside The Emirates and pump funds into the squad to buy world class players. We need two of those things – The first two. Reduced prices and a noisy atmosphere that frightens teams. We already have a £100m+ war chest to spend, plus the wages of the players expected to leave in the summer freeing up around £500,000 (see how here) the problem is not funds, but why we don’t spend it. So my feelings on the takeover are these, I like the promises they are making, but I do not believe they will walk the walk, nor do I believe that winning the league in the way that City or Chelsea do it is desirable. And with the board spinning the Financial Fair Play line over the past 7 years, I would be incensed if they dropped the act now and took the money.

Now, onto more pressing matters. It seems that we just don’t start until it’s too late. It also seems that our defenders turn up to training and practice looking like mugs. I don’t understand how our German international with over 100 caps for his country and the captain of Arsenal Football Club AND the man regarded as one of the best Belgian defenders of his generation can make such simple, amateur mistakes. Vermaelen is getting a lot of stick at the moment and I can see why. In my opinion, he is living off of his first two seasons with us & since getting the captains armband has crumbled under the pressure. The only reason he has consistently started this season; again this is my opinion, is because of the band around his arm. Laurent Koscielney had an absolute stormer against Munich and was subsequently dropped. I believe that Koscielney is our best defender at the moment and should be playing ahead of Mertesacker. I do however like how Per links play simply, but efficiently, but Koscielney has that in his locker, while not being afraid to carry the ball 50 yards and get forward in possession.
Aaron Ramsey had a stormer today and done his job relatively well, with the exception of his crossing. Barring that, he played well and caused Spurs some problems with his ‘never die’ attitude and his chasing down of the ball and should have converted with the score at 2-1, but his shot deflected wide.

Unfortunately, they are the only positives to take from the North London Derby from an Arsenal point of view apart from the hero that threw a banana at Gareth Bale as he took a corner. What a legend that man is – but sadly that was all I had to smile about. Jack Wilshere was stifled by Dembele who had a brilliant game and managed to keep Jack relatively quiet in the middle of the park. Theo Walcott was practically non-existent and drifted into the middle far to often to give Carl Jenkinson a chance down the right hand side. Santi Cazorla continued to be missing in the big games and didn’t influence as much as he would have liked to. I believe that Lukas Podolski should have started today & I also believe that he is being mismanaged by Wenger and that there is a real danger that he could turn into another Arshavin. I recall reading that he has only completed two matches in his time with Arsenal – although I cannot call a source to check this on. If that stat is true then it cannot be good for his confidence.

Top four is still on the cards. Spurs are seven points ahead, but they were ten last year and we all know what happened then. Chelsea are five ahead, but have to play Spurs, Everton, Liverpool & Manchester United in their last 10 games of the season which is by no means easy. But to qualify for The Champions League, we are relying on Spurs or Chelsea to choke in the last ten games of the season.

And, for the record North London is STILL Red. When Spurs go 49 games unbeaten and not 12 as is currently their record, reach the CL final, win 2 doubles (one of which with their former golden boy Sol Campbell), 12 Premier League titles and finish above Arsenal for 19 seasons North London will be even.

As usual, feedback/comments welcome at @RyArsenal

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10 Games For Liverpool To Find Themselves


For every comprehensive victory for Liverpool this season, someone feels the need to caveat the victory. Either the opponent were severely under strength,  they put in their season’s worst performance, or even that they were just a bottom half team.

For every hat-trick or brace from the mercurial Luis Suarez, we’re reminded that ‘he’s most likely off this Summer’. For every comment of praise for the manager, we’re reminded that he either (A) didn’t make any pertinent substitutions, or (B) he’s got little to no experience, therefore we should take any good he seemingly does with a pinch of salt.

This is not to mention the perennial point I continually make of how hard it has been to assess Liverpool all season. Anytime I have tried to assess Liverpool I’ve struggled from the beginning. For every two gentle steps forward, another crushing one back. This season truly had me repeating myself all too often. Regarding the seemingly impossible nature of assessing Liverpool this season though, this for me, is beginning to change.

Following Liverpool’s 0-4 win away at Wigan, they lie in 7th place, 3 points behind Everton. They have scored 53 goals so far – more goals after 28 games than four Premier League winning sides (Man Utd 92-93, 02-03 & 08-09 & Arsenal 97-98). Liverpool’s chances of Champions League football were always unlikely given the obvious circumstances this season, though any hopes seemed to part during the 0-2 loss to West Brom last month. With the gap between Liverpool and 4th looking very much insurmountable, and the lack of appetite for Europa League for some, I ponder what there is to gain between now and May 19th.

For a start, just watching Luis Suarez and the team do their utmost for him to get the Golden Boot will be exceedingly fun – he’s currently on 21 Premier League goals as opposed to 2nd place Van Persie’s haul of 19 goals. Not only the Golden Boot race, but the race to (1) outscore Torres’ Premier League haul of 24 (he got 33 in all competitions while Suarez currently has 26) and Robbie Fowler’s record haul in the Premier League of 28 goals for Liverpool (in 95-96).

Forgetting the statistics, with 10 games left to play, there’s a relatively decent run of fixtures remaining (home games looking tougher than away) – Home games: Spurs, West Ham, Chelsea, Everton & QPR – Away games: Southampton, Reading, Newcastle Fulham. With 30 points left to play for, Liverpool should, obviously, look to take as many points as possible and possibly breach 60 points (Liverpool finished with 52 last season following a second half of the season which equated in relegation form). Breaching 60 points would clearly be a key proponent in the argument for ‘progress’.

So, have Liverpool progressed? In terms of consistent results, I’d say yes. Maybe.. If you break our season into thirds, it has improved within itself at each step. We are scoring more with each step, and learning how to defend again, if only partly, it seems. As I have discussed previously, we’ve developed a sense of pragmatism, which exponentially helps the transition from the team we were last year to the idealistic beast Rodgers wants us to be in time. The pressing game has also began to take shape, which is another factor of encouragement.

With ten games remaining, Liverpool have a chance to build for next season, as cliched as it seems to Liverpool, setting real foundations for next season is absolutely imperative if this transitional season even was  transitional and not just a waste of time. Getting Sturridge fit consistently is one aspect of this. Continuing his integration into the side alongside Suarez will be as important as anything these last 10 games should consist of, while the continuing improvement of our pressing game is another factor which needs to be worked on.

We look at Reina, who’s frankly had a poor two years at Liverpool, when comparing his form with some of the world-class displayed he put in between 2005-2009. Nevertheless yesterday at Wigan, Reina, in my opinion, put in one of his best displays since those sunny days during the famous 2009 run-in. Not only did Reina make three truly sublime saves against Wigan, he also played a superb 80-yard pass to Coutinho which was once a huge attribute of his under Benitez.

Should Reina keep putting in such performances he may give Rodgers more confidence when setting out with the inevitable defensive overhaul this Summer. Should one, two or even three centre backs arrive this Summer, keeping hold of some organisational leadership in Pepe Reina is very important. Despite being a fierce critic of Reina, I simply see his organisational skills as too important to depart with considering the further changes ahead.

With ten games remaining, Liverpool are playing well. We may not have beaten a top side yet, but there are chances coming. First up is a well-oiled Spurs side, a certainly ferocious home derby, and a surreal meting with Rafa and his Chelsea side.  There’s also seven sides which we certainly have the ability to sweep aside. We may not have been consistent this season, but there’s been improvement.

Football is meant to be fun. This season, if inconsistent, has certainly been fun.

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North London Is Red

Arsenal vs Spurs is always the first two fixtures I look for the dates of when the fixture list is announced before the beginning of the season. This fixture is more than a rivalry, it is pure hatred on both sides. It is imperative that we win to keep Spurs in their rightful place, our shadow.
We trail Spurs by 4 points but we’ve been here before and it was the 5-2 mauling at The Emirates that kick started our late run of form to secure our Champions League spot.


Jermain Defoe has recovered from an ankle injury and looks set to start the game on the bench.
Clint Dempsey is out with a calf injury, and Younes Kaboul, Sandro and Tom Huddlestone are also not thought to be included within the squad.

Bacary Sagna is ruled out with a knee injury and fellow defender Kieran Gibbs is still out with a thigh injury sustained earlier in the season. Abou Diaby is hoping to have recovered from a calf injury.

Match Facts

Arsenal have won the last two meetings 5-2. On both occasions, Tottenham have had a man sent off.

There have been 33 goals in the last six meetings in all competitions. It’s the highest-scoring fixture in Premier League history with 121 goals.

Arsenal have not won on any of their last four league visits to White Hart Lane (D2, L2).

My prediction for the match is a 3-1 win to Arsenal if things go well. I can see Tottenham scoring, probably through Gareth ‘Bubbles’ Bale, but I believe that we have more firepower and danger in other areas than the opposition. If we stifle Bale and Dembele, then I think we will have an easier afternoon than if we allow them room to roam. The danger however is that if we foul either in a position close enough for Bubbles to aim a free-kick in then we could be in danger. I can also see Wenger starting either Diaby or Coquelin and I’d prefer the later rather than the former. Aaron Ramsey has been playing well recently & seeing as he knows Bale inside out from their time with the Welsh squad, coupled with his non stop running I think he would be a better choice than the injury prone Diaby. Coquelin could be used as he has played against Spurs before and baring the Blackburn game has looked impressive when he has started, especially against Bradford City.

Should things not go so well, I can see us still coming away with at least a point. I don’t want to focus on us not doing well so I’ll end with a charming picture of Bale and the words North London Is Red.

As always, feedback/discussions at @RyArsenal


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Why the stars are not Shinning: A Post-Mortem of Ghana’s performance at AFCON 2013

South Africa was the land of hope where most Ghanaians believed their darling team will excel. Over 3 decades of under achievement was to be banished in 2013. Listening to the amiable President John Mahama, he charged the Black stars to win and officially pledge support for the team.

The black stars were prepared at Abu Dhabi with quality friendly matches organized for the team. Alas! The wait is still on as the stars failed to shine at the second attempt in two years. They left the shores of Accra with a lot hope but returned empty handed. After watching the first 2 matches of the team at the AFCON 2013, my doubts were solid and factual analysis showed me this team is short of been African champion. In answering the popular question on the street of Accra, Tamale and Kumasi which is “WHAT WENT WRONG?”, I have identified this 5 core factors that must be worked on in order for the Black stars to excel;

Point 1: Pride and Overconfidence

All through the build up and till the elimination of the black stars, I watch with amazement the manner in which reporters, officials and players were so confident of winning the cup. Confidence is good, but excess of it spoils hard work. Even, Spain was not exhibiting the level of disrespect for opponents the way the reporters (Ebwo Appiah and Oyedeji precisely) were doing.

Ghana was only scared of Ivory Coast and sees other participants as beatable. On a good day, Ghana can beat any team in Africa. However, careful look into the team should point to lack of depth as the team is missing quality and leaders which is important for a tournament like this. I heard Mr. Oyedeji saying Nigeria should beat Ivory Coast so Ghana can beat Nigeria and win the cup.

Anybody who understands tournaments will agree that you can only talk of your chances after 2 games. AFCON diaries (on Joy Sports) showed the manner in which the team were conducting themselves. It suggests that the Black stars are busy recreating and having fun with music instead of focusing on the job at hand.

Like the popular Biblical adage, Pride goeth before a fall. The team was very casual against Mali and was lucky for the cancelled equalizer against Niger. The match against Cape Verde was pathetic as the keeper was the man of the match. The work rate and dedication was missing as the Burkina Faso team ripped the entire team apart. The body language of the team seems like the cup is there for the taking and probably the referee at the semi final showcased that.

Pride is killing and Pride surely contributed to the failure of the black stars

Point 2: Lack of Talent

Ghana must own up to this fact, the squad to AFCON 2013 lacked the required talent and does not represent the best the country can produce. The purpose of 23 players is to have 2 players for each wing and 3 goalkeepers. It is imperative to note that the Ghana team could not boast of 14 quality players who are functioning in top leagues across the globe. Derek Boateng, Adoma, Solomon Asante, John Boye and Vorsah are average players that does not cut it at the highest level. Asamoah Gyan and John Paintsil have passed their prime and it is obvious in their contribution to the team. Harrison Afful, Christian Atsu and Wakaso Mubarak are young talents and require time to flourish.

Come to think of it, to see Ghana go to the nations cup without players like Michael Essien,  Muntary, Prince Boateng,  and the  Ayew brothers underline the quality of talent that were neglected at the nations cup. It is a fact that Ghana currently lacks quality in almost every department of the team. The quality in the Globacom Premier league is not also helping matters as the production line has stopped functioning or producing super stars from the league. This is evident in the performance of Ghanaian clubs performance (except Berekum Chelsea last season) in recent times. The substitutions and the panic which some injuries caused in the Black stars team also underline the absence of talent.

Point 3: Tactical Bankruptcy

It is with immense joy to know that Nigeria won AFCON with an African coach at the helm of affairs. It can be stated that Kwesi Appiah is in the same league with Stephen Keshi in terms of national team experience. One thing is certain, Black coaches understand the psyche of the team and the cultural background that can keep the team in high spirit.

But tactically, the Ghanaian bench usually falters when they ought not to throughout the tournament. For example, the decision to leave the Ayew brothers out of the team is tactically suicidal. The coach seems not to have a definite plan and approach in which the team is expected to prosecute matches. Modern coaches have Plan A, B, C while some even have plan D in case that is needed.

The first match when Ghana was leading and comfortable with the three points. Tactically, the coach should have instructed the team to choke the middle as the Congo DR team plays the ball better in the middle. The second match was drab as Ghana did not exploit the weakness of the Malians which is pace. Niger was easier but the problem was obvious with some scares in the second half.

Personally, what I discover in the team is that coach Appiah did not build the team round Kwadwo Asamoah. He has the pass, tricky and can shoot. Why can’t you just design the team to allow him space like Messi at Barcelona instead making him to be defensive almost through the entire tournament. Badu is a good player with an eye for goal, but he will always leave the midfield short when he goes forward leaving Rabiu (most times) with the challenge of marking 2 attacking midfielders. The case was more obvious with Kabore in the Semi final as his intelligent run and experience ensured constant space that killed the Black stars midfield. All through the 120 minutes, tactical remedy could not be found. Wakaso who is the best penalty taker removed underlining lack of hindsight tactically from the bench. All these point to a lot of tactical flaws that were punished at AFCON.

Point 4: Poor Management

Management is one of the most important skills required at the topmost level of international football. You will remember Balotelli at Manchester city and another complexion for Italy at the Euros. Eric Cantona, Diego Maradona, Jay Jay Okocha, Abedi Ayew Pele, Ronaldihno, Tevez, Edmundo, Taarabt, Cantona, Romario and others have proved that exceptional talents have come with their carnage of bad behaviours.

However, various managers have shown how to effectively manage these talents to the extent of achieving great goals. Ghana has poor management across board which was obvious in the indiscipline around the team all these while. Dressing and hairstyle have shown Ghana as a very unserious team with poor control from the authorities. Conflict with some players that are left out especially the Ayew brothers is another testimony. Even, occurrences like the Paintsil’s and Ayew brothers temporary retirement has created chaos in terms of football management in Ghana

Management was also viewed in the choice of camping. Abu Dhabi and South Africa to the best of my knowledge are not at par in terms of weather. It seems as an enjoyment trip as the captain seems to put on more weight. Also, benchmarking was not used for the allowance (not limited to Ghana in Africa) as the players are making cheap dollars arguably without sweating.

I think the entire Ghanaian football setup should own up and improve in the way the black stars are managed. The players should respect the jersey and understand they represent the Ghanaian nation. Lest I forget, the Ghanaian camp seems to be so comfortable that recordings and visits were conducted in the camp during the tournament. This is grossly disappointing as you do not babysit at war. There are rumours of parties, clubbing, womanizing and other act of indiscipline that points to ineptitude in terms of management.

Point 5: Lack of Tournament Mentality

The last aspect for me is that the team lacked tournament mentality. Strategic planning coupled with diligent implementation is key to success. Tournaments are short (1 month at most) and require detail focus and psychological readiness to be able to achieve the goals. The black stars team seems to have this lackadaisical approach to games. Sometimes, I feel they have been promised the cup before the tournament began.

How do you explain a world cup quarter finalist been overwhelmed by Cape Verde (no disrespect) and ultimately overwhelmed by Burkina Faso whose goal keeper plies his trade in the Globacom premier league. The team lacked fighting spirit, leadership and sacrifice required at the top stage of international competition. It is very painful that the team was psychologically wanting at important moments of the tournament.

This is a distilled approach to analyzing the Black stars at AFCON.Black Stars

Follow Pelumi @Pelulomo_27

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